So for years, we have been sold on the idea that we need tactical gear in order to be high speed and get from point A to Z with our stuff intact. Multicam and molle covered packs, with a half a dozen special pouches to hold “the gear” has become the norm.

Then a couple years ago it suddenly switched to we have to be grey. As a person whose profession has largely about watching and observing people I have made an informal study of grey vs. not grey. This study has been conducted in airports, train stations, urban and suburban areas, business and educational campuses.

My observations revealed that most people unless they are in a profession where watching people, is part of the trade rarely notice what anyone else is wearing or carrying unless it’s totally outlandish. But for those of us who do notice what someone is wearing or carrying it does tend to catch our eye and we make an evaluation of that person’s status. I remember going to Puerto Rico after the hurricane last year for a security contract and waiting at the airport for my flight to Puerto Rico and thinking it looks like a 5.11 fashion show.

Traveling Grey: Carry On Backpacks and Bags

With the summer travel season coming upon us I’ll offer a few thoughts on grey travel carry on backpacks and bags. If you’re traveling in business attire your luggage should match that. Just about anything covered in molle, Multicam, with a bunch of pouches/patches attached is going to attract attention unless you’re obviously in the military. There are also a smattering of off-color outdoorsy type bags and some techie looking computer bags. Sling bags don’t seem to be very common in my observations.

The most common backpacks and bags I see are black from the North Face, Under Armour, and Swiss Army. Therefore if you don’t want to be spotted and made as an operator, contractor, or spy get a North Face or Under Armour bag for a carry-on.


Author  – Art Dorst is the owner of A. Dorst Consulting & Training Services and is a Senior Consultant for LaSorsa & Associates.  He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves and eventually retired as an NCO from The Army National Guard.  He is also a retired municipal Police Officer, a Certified EMT, NRA Instructor, and is currently a security provider/trainer.

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